Isle of You

David LaRochelle, illus. by Jaime Kim. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9116-5
LaRochelle (Moo!) and Kim (La La La) have created the picture book equivalent of a guided visualization. Their protagonist, a child of indeterminate gender, broods in bed, gripping a pillow for comfort. “Are you feeling sad?/ Lonely?/ Maybe even a little angry?” the unseen narrator says, striking a soothing, even tone that persists throughout. “I know the perfect place to go.” And indeed, the Isle of You, a fantasyland bathed in light that gradually shifts from soft yellows and pinks to deep blues and purples, has nigh everything a kid could want: a castle and monorail, a bird who’s happy to act as a private airplane, and a tight-knit group of welcoming human and animal friends. The child is free to chill or cavort in hammock, waterfall pool, or air balloon until the world feels benevolent again. Readers who prefer to feel through their funks may find this tactic minimizing, but those with a stubborn case of weltschmerz should welcome the calming sojourn. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. Ages 3–7. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2018
Release date: 12/11/2018
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